Writer Accuses President Trump of Sexually Assaulting Her in Department Store Dressing Room in 1996

Writer Accuses President Trump of Sexually Assaulting Her in Department Store Dressing Room in 1996

President Trump has been accused of rape. Again.

The latest accusation comes from E. Jean Carroll, the longtime advice columnist for Elle, who details the alleged attack in her upcoming book, What Do We Need Men For? In an excerpt published on Friday by The Cut, Carroll describes Trump sexually assaulting her in a dressing room in the New York City department store Bergdorf Goodman around 1996.

Carroll writes of bumping into Trump as she was leaving Bergdorf’s late one afternoon. Charmed by his jokiness and his being “surprisingly good-looking,” she agreed to help him shop for a gift for “a girl” of indeterminate age.

Trump rejected her first couple of suggestions of a handbag or a hat. Then he decided lingerie would make a good gift. (Which does not preclude the possibility he was buying it for Ivanka.) So Carroll went with him to the lingerie department on another floor, where he tries to get her to try on a “lacy, see-through bodysuit.”

Up to this point, the whole thing just seems weirdly flirty, though you can see where it is going:

“Try it on, come on,” he says, throwing it at me.

“It goes with your eyes,” I say, laughing and throwing it back.

“You’re in good shape,” he says, holding the filmy thing up against me. “I wanna see how this looks.”

“But it’s your size,” I say, laughing and trying to slap him back with one of the boxes on the counter.

“Come on,” he says, taking my arm. “Let’s put this on.”

This is gonna be hilarious, I’m saying to myself — and as I write this, I am staggered by my stupidity. As we head to the dressing rooms, I’m laughing aloud and saying in my mind: I’m gonna make him put this thing on over his pants!

Once they are ensconced in the dressing room, with no one else around, the story indeed goes dark:

The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.

As Carroll relates it, she was still laughing. One wonders if this was some form of dissociation, a very common response to being sexually assaulted.

The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle. 

Carroll fought Trump off and ran out of the store. She ends the story by stating that she still has the Donna Karan outfit she was wearing that day hanging on a door in her apartment but has never been able to bring herself to wear it again, until the photo shoot for the New York magazine cover accompanying her story.

For its part, the White House released a statement to The Cut reading, “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”

Funny how many women have come forward in the last few years with similar tales to do that. At least 15 of them so far, by Carroll’s count.

Read the excerpt here.

UPDATE: The White House released a statement late Friday denying Carroll’s claim and accusing her of peddling a fictional story in order to sell her book and accusing Carroll–without evidence–of working with the Democratic Party to smear Trump:

“Regarding the “story” by E. Jean Carroll, claiming she once encountered me at Bergdorf Goodman 23 years ago. I’ve never met this person in my life. She is trying to sell a new book—that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section.

Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda—like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It’s just as bad for people to believe it, particularly when there is zero evidence. Worse still for a dying publication to try to prop itself up by peddling fake news—it’s an epidemic.

Ms. Carroll & New York Magazine: No pictures? No surveillance? No video? No reports? No sales attendants around?? I would like to thank Bergdorf Goodman for confirming they have no video footage of any such incident, because it never happened.

False accusations diminish the severity of real assault. All should condemn false accusations and any actual assault in the strongest possible terms.

If anyone has information that the Democratic Party is working with Ms. Carroll or New York Magazine, please notify us as soon as possible. The world should know what’s really going on. It is a disgrace and people should pay dearly for such false accusations.”

Gary Legum

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.